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A Financial Snapshot of Hispanic Americans

03/04/2015 03:17AM | 8376 views

By Ayo Mseka

According to Prudential’s 2014 "Hispanic American Financial Experience" study, the Hispanic community is moderately confident in its future outlook for household finances, the local and national economy, and the attention that is being paid to their needs by the financial industry and government.

In addition, the Hispanic community places a high priority on funding near-term goals, such as reducing debt, purchasing a home or creating an emergency savings account. Many in the community are also supporting multigenerational families. Although these factors are admirable, they sometimes make it difficult for them to prepare for their long-term financial security.

Key findings of the Prudential study include:

*Financial confidence

  • Hispanic Americans have a higher financial confidence (46 out of 100) than the General Population in the United States.
  • Unlike other groups, Hispanics' Financial Confidence Index scores are highly consistent across demographics.

*Money and debt

  • Hispanics identify themselves more as savers than as investors, with 37 percent of the survey participants indicating that they are more of a "saver" than an "investor." However, nearly as many (36 percent) say they are "neither a saver nor an investor."
  • Survey findings reflect a cultural aversion to debt, as evidenced by the fact that 62 percent of the survey participants said that there is no such thing as "good debt," and 49 percent indicated a preference for paying cash for an item or not buying it all.

*Family finances

  • Household expenses, health-care costs, savings and debt level—all near-term concerns—are ranked as higher concerns than retirement.
  • Family finances are often multigenerational and global, as evidenced by the fact that one in six families support their parents and 42 percent of non-U.S. born participants send money to relatives in their home countries.

*Retirement age

  • The anticipated retirement age indicated by non-retired Hispanics is 66, which is three years later than that of the general population.
  • 12 percent indicated they intend to retire at age 75 or later, compared to only 4 percent of the general population.
  • Once retired, 73 percent plan to continue working at least part time.

*Retirement planning

  • More than half of the Hispanics surveyed—regardless of their income or country of birth—indicated a "poor" or "very poor" understanding of U.S. workplace-based retirement plans and Social Security.
  • When compared to the general population, those surveyed cited less access (72 percent versus 83 percent) and lower contributions (71 percent versus 85 percent) to workplace-based retirement plans.
  • 17 percent of employed Hispanics are not sure if their employers provide matching retirement contributions, compared to 8 percent of the general population.

Prudential's research, The Hispanic American Financial Experience, was conducted from October 28–November 18, 2013, by GfK Custom Research, Inc. in both English and Spanish. This survey polled 1,023 Americans who self-identify as "Hispanic," and survey questions encompassed a broad range of financial topics.

All participants met the following criteria:

  • Age 25–70
  • Household income of $25,000 or more
  • Some involvement in household financial decisions

This survey was designed to broadly represent characteristics of the 9.6 million Hispanic households with annual incomes of $25,000 or more. It is important to note, however, that the Hispanic community is composed of a number of different groups with unique cultural experiences, traditions and history.

The term "Hispanic" is used consistently with the official U.S. government definition as included in the 2010 U.S. Census to refer to "a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race."

Ayo Mseka is Editor-In-Chief of NAIFA’s Advisor Today magazine. Contact her at

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